The play that s adjusted is between the reciprocating ball assembly and the pitman arm drive. This connection is a ball in socket with the ball being on the assembly and the socket a part of the pitman shaft.
The worse cases of tractability and seeming play can come from drawing the socket to harshly into the ball. This then drives the recirculating ball arrangement into constant verticle loading wearing the assembly. In this condition the steering drives the car. Normally the alignment and road drive the steering (untill driver corrected), when the box is tight in this manner the slight changes in road leave one constantly crossing the play of the ball assembly to minorly chase/correct the direction of travel. A most irritating and unsafe condition especially on varrying roads.
I only say this to emphasize that this point must be avoided. I have fixed a number of these situations over the years and many have been after the car had most of its suspension replaced chasing the problem. Many came after new owners took over after previous ones gave up. Don't get it too tight.
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician